Phish fans riot, fight cops trying to sweep them out of Morrison

6 Aug

MORRISON – Hundreds of young fans of the rock group Phish in tie-dye clothing and grungy flannel shirts jammed city streets here last night, dancing to the beat of bongo drums and chanting at heavily armed police who termed the scene a riot.

Police, some clad in riot gear, shut down the main road into town for a time last night as they tried to move the gathering, estimated at more than 400, out of downtown. Several people were injured, including some from thrown bottles. Authorities reported 10 arrests. Shortly before midnight, the Denver Metro special weapons team poured out of vans to help disperse the crowd.

The late-night melee was the culmination of two days of tension and apprehension that had built as thousands of itinerant fans of the band Phish flooded the town for a series of concerts at nearby Red Rocks.

Most didn’t have tickets, and few had more than a car or campground to stay in. Many set up shop on the streets of Morrison.

The boiling point came about 8:30 p.m., when a man driving a truck hit a woman crossing Bear Creek Road. Witnesses said the kids surrounded the woman and one young man kicked the truck.

“The crowd started rushing the officers, and quite a few bottles were thrown,” said Morrison Police Sgt. Murray Goldberg. “The crowd became ruder, and fights broke out.”

Officers from several jurisdictions begin pouring in.

Police told local businesses to close down after the incident occurred. David McCleve, who was working at the Bradley Sinclair service station, said police came to the shop and said, “It was going to get bad.”

By 11:30 p.m. police started letting groups of five young people through their barricade. The crowd started to disperse.

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